Back in the day when I had no money but lots of time I decided that the only thing I could do to grow my business was put myself in a room with as many people as I could to tell them who I was and what I did. I did this through networking. Networking lunches, networking dinners, networking clubs, professional organizations. It was not uncommon for me to have 4 or 5 a week.
Soon my contacts grew and so did my business. But the downside was that I wasn’t getting any freaking WORK done. I was still at that tenuous stage where I wasn’t making enough money to outsource, I was a one man band handling every aspect of my business. All those hours of networking were eating into my day and I just wasn’t managing my time very well. I joined everything, and not all of those groups were instrumental in growing my business.
When I attempted to write off all of the after hours dinners (*cough*drinking) under the “Professional Development” tab of my end of year expenses my accountant may have used the words “IRS” and “Red Flag”.
I winnowed down the groups, buckled down and for the next 7 years stayed active in the few groups that really rocked my world, with no more than 2 networking events per month and shifted my party girl ways to learning how to manage my time and grow my business.
Then came 2008.
Most long-time photographers will tell you that’s about the time the earth started rumbling for the industry. The tide shifted and even those of us used to living on a variable income were squirming uncomfortably. By 2009, I was back on the prowl to grow my network, but I did it smarter.
Look, there are tons of ways to market your business, and not one of them is the end-all and be-all. What plays in Peoria does not always work in Atlanta, and you may hate walking into a room of strangers and handing out business cards. But there are variations on marketing that you can adapt and you can make them work for you.
So when the call came in from Sarah Petty from the Joy of Marketing to ask me about my experience with marketing my business through networking, I poured her a BIG OLE Vodka Tonic and said “Sit right here my pretty and lemme tell you a story”
Kidding. I don’t even know if Sarah likes Vodka Tonics.
But I do know that she’s a marketing GENIUS and she’s asked 9 other super smart photographers to share their best marketing tips in GET BOOKED. It’s a FREE Online Conference on Wednesday October 15. I know I will be listening to what everyone else has to say because you know there is some collective wisdom in that group that I want to hear.
So stop by, listen to me fumble around and talk about networking and get yourself BOOKED.
Stay Sane, Happy and Profitable!